A Visit To The Vineyard Wind Farm

Jason Graziadei •

The first of Vineyard Wind’s turbines has been completed in the waters 15 miles southwest of Nantucket and the Current went to get a closer look on Wednesday.

The company hailed it as "the largest turbine in the Western world."

The completed GE Haliade-X turbine is the first of 62 that will be constructed in Vineyard Wind’s lease area. Each turbine will reach 837 feet in the air at the tip of its blade,  nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower.

Thanks to Capt. Carl Bois of Topspin Fishing who took our team out to the Vineyard Wind construction site in federal waters, the Nantucket Current was the first media organization to document the completed first turbine in photos and video, along with the numerous vessels taking part in the installation of the wind farm.

The turbine is comprised of a tower, three blades, and one "nacelle." It has a nameplate capacity of 13 megawatts, capable of providing power to more than 6,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, according to Vineyard Wind.

All photos below by Kit Noble. Click here for more video.

A Vineyard Wind turbine under construction southwest of Nantucket. Photo by Kit Noble
The first of Vineyard Wind's 62 turbines off Nantucket. Photo by Kit Noble

“This complete turbine is a monument to the hard work and belief in our construction and project teams, and countless partners in our neighboring communities,” said Tim Evans, Partner and Head of North America for Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, one of the companies building Vineyard Wind. “Vineyard Wind is the future of American offshore wind, and it’s a future full of clean, sustainable energy and tremendous potential for job creation and reducing carbon pollution. Offshore wind continues to be a cornerstone in our investment strategy, with the U.S. market playing a central role.”

Vineyard Wind is on pace to become the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm. The project's 62 turbines will be spaced one nautical mile apart.

While we were at the site on Wednesday, there did not appear to be any work being completed despite the good weather conditions. The second turbine had one of its three blades installed, and we counted 17 monopiles sticking out of the water's surface awaiting their turbine components. Numerous vessels, including the massive crane ship Orion, were in the area, but idle.

The first turbine components left the port of New Bedford in early September, squeezing through the city's hurricane barrier behind a tugboat, and heading out to sea. The assembly was delayed due to weather conditions over the past month.

Throughout 2023, the company has been conducting geotechnical surveys and laying cable for the project, and recently completed a substation. The company, which is backed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Avangrid Renewables, LLC, believes the entire project will generate 806 megawatts, enough to power more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts.

Two years ago, the town of Nantucket negotiated to receive $16 million in restitution for the potential historical, cultural, and economic impacts of Vineyard Wind’s offshore wind farm through a so-called "Good Neighbor Agreement." Cultural Heritage Partners (CHP), the law firm hired by the town to negotiate on offshore wind projects, secured this remediation as part of a lengthy dialogue with Vineyard Wind.

The agreement, which was also signed by the Maria Mitchell Association and the Nantucket Preservation Trust, essentially binds the town and those organizations to support - and not criticize - the Vineyard Wind project.

Late last month, a group of Nantucket residents appealed the dismissal of a lawsuit aimed at stopping the Vineyard Wind wind project in federal court. The group ACK For Whales - formerly known as Nantucket Residents Against Turbines - filed the appeal with the First Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals and is seeking to overturn the May 2023 decision of U.S. District Court judge Indira Talwani, who dismissed the original complaint.

ACK For Whales believes that the federal agencies involved in permitting the Vineyard Wind project - including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Marine Fisheries Service - failed to properly consider the impacts Vineyard Wind could have on endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Vineyard Wind has asserted the project will create 3,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) "job years," save customers $1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation, and believes it will reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking 325,000 cars off the road annually.

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